Job creation is a hot topic in our district right now. It is imperative that our legislature understands that we must pass laws that create an environment in NC that helps to grow. To me this means ensuring that excessive regulations are rolled back just enough to ensure that small business’s can grow, while maintaining safe and healthy working conditions. This means ensuring our state has a competitive business tax rate, and is making the appropriate investments in infrastructure to ensure that we can support industry needs.
This also means that it is imperative that we invest in ensuring that our workers have access to affordable education programs, and that Community Colleges are focused on STEM courses to ensure that our workers meet the technical needs of industry. It means focusing on education, and ensuring that our students are prepared for private sector jobs.
This year, HB2 has been a source of contention for NC, putting our state in the national spotlight, and drawing attention to a problem that didn’t exist until we made it a problem. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want perverts in the bathrooms with my children any more than the rest of us do, however, HB2 wouldn’t have helped the problem. All HB2 was successful in doing was eliminating ALL local ordinances granting anti-discrimination protections that exceeded the State standards. This eliminated protections for Veterans as well. I am of the belief that the conservative posture is to reduce government interference in our private lives, not to increase interference.
This bill was discriminatory on so many levels. First, it assumes that only men are “perverts” interested in corrupting our children, and the backlash received was that nobody wants a man going into the bathroom with our wives, girlfriends, mothers and daughters. So does that say it’s OK for them to go into the restrooms with our sons, brothers, and husbands? Who is really being protected by HB2? My perspective on this is that it is our duty to be ever vigilant when our children are utilizing public accommodations, regardless of where we are at, or who is in there. You see, HB2 is like Gun control… it only prevents law abiding citizens from protecting their children by preventing single mothers from bringing their young sons into the restroom with them, or by preventing single fathers from bringing their young daughters into the restroom with them. If laws stopped criminals, then you would never hear about children being abused, molested, or hurt. I know that there is no easy solution to this particular issue, however you can rest assured, that if elected, I will fight to protect the rights of EVERY citizen in our state to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
Family Law Reform
This is an issue that is very near and dear to my heart. I have a plan to revamp the NC Family Law code to ensure that our children’s best needs are at the center of all custody disputes. There are literally hundreds of reforms that need to be made, so I will take a moment here to discuss a few. Before I get into specifics, I want to point out that the divorce/family law industry is a $50 billion dollar a year industry, and the laws are written to ensure that the industry is the only winner in any family law dispute. Divorce and custody issues are designed to be as combative as possible, with little incentive to ensure that parents compromise and focus on the children’s best interest. I have several reforms that need to be made to help address this issue.
First, I will introduce legislation that would effectively eliminate the dis-proven 30+ year old tender years doctrine that so many judges stick to in spite of state laws which require no presumption as to which parent is more appropriate. The legislation will create a rebuttable presumption of 50/50 custody when there is a child with 2 fit parents. This just means that negotiations will start at 50/50 with the mandatory minimum parenting time set at 35% as is described in modern social research on what is in the best interest of the child. The legislation will also update the current mediation laws to provide incentives to reach an agreement in mediation. It will require both parents to submit a parenting plan, and will require the judge to accept whichever submitted plan would grant the children the most time with both parents.
Second I will introduce legislation that makes parental interference a criminal act, with the first 2 incidents being misdemeanors and any subsequent acts being a class “C” felony. The whole point is to ensure that both parents are working to foster a healthy relationship between the children and their other parent. The law will include a simple form for the injured party to fill out and file with the magistrate along with the police report. Ultimately if interference continues, the judge will have to consider modifying custody to ensure that the children are with the parent most willing to foster a healthy relationship.
That leads directly into legislation required to classify the act of parental alienation as child abuse. Parental alienation occurs when a parent works to poison a child’s mind against the other parent. Often it begins with the parent including the children in the adult issues. This continues as the parent actively works to make the child ashamed of their desire to see the other parent. Often times, the child is punished for speaking of their other parent, or for the other parent attending social functions… This action is extremely harmful to the child’s mental health, and can ultimately lead to the destruction of their relationship to the other parent.
To ensure the judges and legal professionals are following the laws, I will work to upgrade the family court system digital recording from only audio to timestamped closed circuit television. This recording would then become the official record of the court, and the source of the official transcript. There will be penalties for the courts & judges in control of the record if there is any time missing from the official record. Each judicial district will be subject to random reviews to ensure they are following the laws the state imposes.
Which leads into absolute judicial immunity. There has been much ado about whether or not family court judges should be granted judicial immunity, and it is my opinion that in many cases judges need to be able to do their jobs without fear of financial reparations for the person(s) they have ruled against, however; immunity should never be granted when a judiciary operates outside of the laws that govern them. Allowing such absolute immunity only encourages corruption. It is when corruption begins that criminal action should swiftly follow, for if our court system in corrupted, then our country is corrupted. See paper here. .
This leads into due process and Constitutional protections in family court. While many procedural violations have been addressed before state appellate and supreme courts, most don’t deal with some of the most egregious violations of due process in Family court. This includes using the preponderance of evidence standard when granting an order of protection against someone, it includes imposing jail as a punitive measure for the inability to pay child support and other “contempt” charges without providing legal counsel or a trial by jury. This includes an unconstitutional law restricting licensing as a method to collect child support. These violations of due process and constitutional violations of the 5th and 14th amendments must be addressed. See examples here.
While I could go on all day about Family court reform, I will end this here, and if you would like to discuss this section, please feel free to contact me through my facebook page (just click the logo in the footer) or submit a form on the Contact page.
I believe that social welfare is a necessary aspect of our society, however; I feel like the process our government uses to address the issue of caring for the underprivileged leaves a lot to be desired. The current system leaves the door open for rampant abuse.
What I would like to propose is that instead of providing money, food-stamps, free cell phones, free internet access and the like, we should instead shift our focus into teaching these low income families a new trade and training them to support themselves. I would like to refocus our welfare system into something like the TVA that Roosevelt created after the great depression, in what would become the pre-curser to modern welfare. The big difference is that the TVA provided the government with a means to improve infrastructure, and provided good paying jobs to those willing to work. Our state is desperately in need of infrastructure upgrades, and we bleed money to foreign companies because we can’t afford the upgrades ourselves. There is also a desperate need for affordable child care, which keeps even more families from having the ability to work day jobs, or jobs where both parents can work the same shift, causing even more strain on the lower to middle class family unit. I would propose transitioning welfare recipients into a on the job training program to run affordable childcare facilities, to help rebuild the 12.7% of structurally deficient bridges in NC, to learn to repave our roads using local employees. To improve levee systems, and flood control systems. I believe that this will provide families with a path to independence and self sufficiency. Like the old saying says, “Give a man to fish, and you feed him for a day, but Teach a man to fish, and feed him for a lifetime.”